Over 8 million New Yorkers can’t be wrong. The classic sandwich is a staple of the American diet! Consider its portability. Meat, vegetables, and cheese nestled between two pieces of bread become a four-course meal you can eat on the run.
A classic sandwich made by a New York City deli is far more than that turkey breast and mayo on white bread you have after Thanksgiving. It’s a work of art. Condiments are carefully considered, so they will add to the flavor and not detract from it.
No longer content to be relegated to lunch boxes and drug store lunch counters, the sandwich has taken center stage in the NYC foodie scene. Walking food tours are available with visits to some of the best delis and restaurants throughout the city, with historical commentary provided. Take a look at some of New York’s finest, seven classic sandwiches.
1) New York’s Signature Sandwich
Pastrami on rye is a staple among New York’s famous Jewish delicatessens. Sussman Volk, an immigrant from Lithuania, is credited with creating the pastrami sandwich in the late 1800s.
It’s a simple creation of thinly sliced pastrami piled high on rye bread and slathered with spicy brown mustard. Some delis might also add corned beef, but it’s the simple three-ingredient signature pastrami sandwich that is considered one of New York City’s best sandwiches.
2) Chopped Cheese Sandwich
The chopped cheese sandwich takes basic grilled cheese to a whole new level. Onto the flat top grill goes chopped beef and onions. The chopped beef is then added to a hero roll and smothered in melted cheese. Lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments complete the sandwich. It’s comfort food, sandwich style.
3) Bagel And Lox
In the late 19th century, Polish immigrants came to America and brought with them a very curious bread. There was a hole in the center, and the bread was boiled before it was baked. Since those days, bagels have become a staple part of the New York food scene.
Next on the scene was a brined salmon, called lox. It was introduced in America by the Scandinavians and together with a bagel you’ve got the ubiquitous bagels and lox. Add cream cheese, capers, tomato, cucumber, and sliced onion, and you’ve got a cult classic.
4) Corned Beef
The origin of corned beef dates back to the 1600s when wealthy British citizens were importing meat from Ireland to fuel their cravings for roast beef. In order to ship the meat, it had to be brined in rock salt, the size of corn kernels. Thus, the term “corned beef” was born.
Today, New Yorkers consume large quantities of the tenderized beef atop rye bread with cabbage, mustard, and pickles. Corned beef sandwiches are popular year-round and especially on St Patrick’s Day.
5) Chopped Liver Sandwich
Another classic found at NYC Jewish delis is the chopped liver sandwich. The origin of chopped liver goes back to Ashkenazi Jews who used fried chicken livers chopped with hard-boiled eggs and sliced onions to create a dense pate.
As a sandwich, it is served on rye bread. Chopped liver is also served without the bread, as an appetizer, at many Jewish holiday celebrations.
6) Chicken Parm
Breaded chicken, fried or baked to a crispy golden brown, then smothered in red sauce and covered in melted mozzarella cheese, is not from Italy. Why then is it considered an Italian dish?
The original dish, chicken parmigiana, was a popular meal in New York’s Italian expatriate circles. The red tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese came by ship from the old country.
When that warm breaded chicken breast is on crusty bread and topped with sauce and cheese, you’ve got the portable sandwich-style version of this hugely popular Italian-American dish.
7) New York Style Hot Dog
Let us resolve this controversy once and for all. Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.
When a hot dog is served from one of the many street carts throughout the city, it comes with onion relish, spicy brown mustard, and sauerkraut. For the uninformed, it is important to note that an NYC-style hot dog is served with mustard, but never ketchup!
If one must desecrate a hot dog by covering it with sugary sweet ketchup, it must be done in hiding.
New York Sandwich Masterclass
You can learn how to create your own delicious New York style sandwiches from the comfort of home! Sign up for our Sandwich Masterclass, and we’ll learn how to create one of NYC’s best sandwiches, along with other participants, over a one-hour Zoom call.
The Sandwich Masterclass is perfect for team building, corporate groups, and basically, anyone who wants to learn how to make great-tasting New York style sandwiches.
The class is in session! Book your Zoom Masterclass now!